Ron Artest’s History of Dirty Plays Goes Far Beyond the ‘Malice at the Palace’

One of the most infamous episodes in the history of the NBA was the brawl that happened in 2004, at a game between the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers. Known informally as the “Malice at the Palace,” the incident led to nine players getting suspended for a total of 146 games. One of those players was Ron Artest, who set off the whole brawl with a hard foul.

Artest’s name remains synonymous with the Pacers-Pistons brawl, and ultimately led him to change his name in 2011 to Metta World Peace. Yet that didn’t end his tendency to get himself into trouble on the court. Here we take a look at some of key examples of Artest/World Peace’s dirty play, while investigating just how much he’s paid for each one in terms of fines and suspensions.

Early anger management issues

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Being a fiery player isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the NBA. In fact, so long as a player can harness that energy, it often ends up working to the benefit of their team. Yet basically since the beginning of his career, Artest’s passion has regularly crossed the line into inappropriate and aggressive behavior.

Things really picked up in 2002-03, Artest’s fourth season in the league and first full season with the Pacers. According to the New York Times, Artest was suspended on six different occasions, for a total of 12 games that year. One of those incidents involved Artest throwing a television monitor — an act of rage that cost him a three-game suspension and a $35,000 fine.

At another game that year, Artest also got into a heated shouting match with then-Miami Heat coach Pat Riley after pushing Caron Butler into the stands. Artest also made an obscene gesture at fans watching from the stands. Those actions netted him a four-game suspension without pay, costing him in the ballpark of $84,000.

Ron Artest’s many technical fouls

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Over the course of his 17-year playing career, Artest developed a reputation as one of the most bruisingly physical players of all time. That means he racked up plenty of personal fouls — 2,586, to be precise. Perhaps surprisingly, that total places him at number 180 on the all-time list. Artest also picked up plenty of technical fouls over the years.

His career total came out to 77 technical fouls. Believe it or not, that total doesn’t even place him within the top 10 of all time. The NBA imposes a baseline fine of $2,000 per technical foul.

That numbers go up for players who accrue more than 10 in a season. Even assuming that Artest never broke that total, his 77 techs still cost him a whopping $154,000.

The suspensions keep on coming for Ron Artest

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Whether it was the lingering stigma of “Malice at the Palace” or just his pugnacious nature, Artest continued to find himself receiving periodic suspensions throughout his career.

His last came in 2013, four years before he retired. At the time he was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. During a game against the Pistons, Artest (by then known as Metta World Peace) hit Brandon Knight in the jaw.

That infraction led to a one-game suspension and a $65,988 fine. While it was definitely a bad look for Artest, that incident paled in comparison to one that happened in April 2012. In a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Artest threw a vicious elbow into the head of James Harden, hitting him so hard that he suffered a concussion.

Although Artest argued strenuously that the hit was an accident, commissioner David Stern would hear nothing of it. Instead, he slapped Artest with a highly punitive seven-game suspension. As a result of that incident, Artest forfeited a total of $347,813 in fines, according to Spotrac.

-All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference